Sir John Beddington, ex-Chief Scientific Advisor to the Government has appeared on these pages before:
2009: He is attacked for defending (sic) the Government’s support of NHS homeopathy.
2010: He changes his tune (The Chief Scientific Advisor is apparently for turning) and attacks NHS homeopathy, claiming it could mislead patients.
2012: In a slightly less than scientific use of the language, he describes NHS homeopathy as ‘crazy’.
2013: Now as the ex-Chief Scientific Advisor, he has again referred to NHS homeopathy as ‘madness’.
Now Beddington is not a medical doctor so we should not hold these rather puerile ‘diagnoses’ of homeopathy against the man. He is a specialist in the economics and biology of sustainable management of renewable resources and has previously advised UK ministers on scientific and environmental issues. He should therefore know that homeopathy is very, environmentally friendly and cost-effective. He should also know that two successive Governments have heard much more sophisticated criticism of homeopathy than his crude insults and come out totally in favour of NHS homeopathy. They have done this because they still cling to a vestige of democracy and choose to protect the substantial minority of people who want homeopathy and CAM on the NHS. Finally he should understand that his statements are a gross insult to NHS GPs who choose to send their patients to other medical doctors who include homeopathy in their medicinal arsenals. To think that he (a non-doctor) knows better than a patient’s GP (a qualified MD) what is clinically optimal for any of the GP’s patients, strikes me as a trifle arrogant.